TikTok-famous ‘talking’ dog Bunny is now asking some heavy existential questions. The Sheepadoodle, who is popular for communicating using her augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device's buttons, is now interested in her own sense of self. Alexis Devine, Bunny’s human companion, shared that Bunny started questioning her existence when she stared at herself in a mirror and asked, ‘who this?’
Now, Bunny's followers have become obsessed with the notion that her language-learning is making her develop some kind of self-awareness. Is that possible?
And if so, does learning language have something to do with it?
"The question here is, is this a behavior that has been trained — like, look, I'm going to show you this individual here, this is 'you' or 'dog,' and don't be afraid of it, and then over time the dog learns that," [Federico] Rossano told Salon. "Or to what degree is this spontaneous?"
If it is spontaneous, the research around the ethology for canines could get really interesting. Scientific evidence has previously suggested that dogs don't recognize themselves in the mirror. The so-called mirror test is used to determine whether an animal has the ability of visual self-recognition, and is considered a marker of intelligence in animals. Elephants, chimpanzees, and dolphins are among the animals who have passed the test, but dogs typically don't.
Image via Salon